Letter, 6/15: Outreach on wind energy

June 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Wind energy is thriving, especially in the Midwest. Known for its huge agricultural potential, Midwestern states also have some of the best potential for wind power, making the region prime real estate for wind energy development. But one of the biggest roadblocks for wind energy is the ability to connect new energy sources to the electric grid.

The Midwest Transmission Project in the region seeks to remove that roadblock, improving the grid and allowing for greater renewable energy development. The project is a partnership between Omaha Public Power District and Kansas City Power and Light and will run from a substation near Nebraska City to one just outside Sibley, Missouri.

A major part of the transmission development process is public outreach, usually in the form of several rounds of open house meetings and public hearings, all of which are required for regulatory approval. One thing that makes the Midwest Transmission Project special, though, is that OPPD decided to not stop there with outreach. During the design and development of the project’s route, OPPD met with landowners on their property along the proposed route and asked each of them for their input.

OPPD has provided a prime example for utilities in Nebraska and other states when it comes to developing new transmission lines. Instead of just meeting with landowners, it’s important to really form a relationship with them, using their knowledge of the local area and expertise to help drive the development process.

Lu Nelson, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons

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